Free-Range Weather

Cage-Free Weather Commentary

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Fall Preview for the Northwest

We almost eked out a 90 degree day today (89.4 isn’t bad, of course). Friday and Saturday look similarly warm, and then Fall will start. Big time. Next week Sisters will be lucky to hit 75, as our wonderful high pressure ridge will be shoved east by a large upper-level trough moving down from the Gulf of Alaska. We probably won’t get much precip (it is the High Desert, after all) but we could see a shower or a thunderstorm, especially on Sunday as the first front moves through.

Too early for the season to change, you say? Not really, as it seems like we get a strong front barreling through in mid-September, ending summer and ushering in the High Desert’s most beautiful season, autumn.

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No Snow – Yet

Snow or Not

The red, amoeba-shaped cloud mass over Portland headed toward the blue dot (my house in Sisters) is Central Oregon’s last chance for snow this season. Or at least I hope it is, as snow is possible into June.

The image is an infrared satellite picture taken about 4:30 pm on May 23. The red indicated cold cloud tops, which means that inclement weather is headed our way tonight. If we don’t get snow tonight I bet we’ve escaped it until next fall.

We’re forecasted to get pummeled by another low pressure system after Memorial Day, but it doesn’t look as big, cold or nasty as our current unwelcome intruder from the north.

The latest long-range forecast from the Climate Prediction Center is calling for below average temps and above average precip for the next week or two, so summer is still a ways off for the Northwest.

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The Weather Channel’s “Summer” Forecast

I say “summer” as about half the video discusses the outlook for May, not commonly thought of as a summer month (unless you’re in the southern tier of states, where average highs can be well into the 80s in May).

TWC is predicting well above normal temps for the drought-plagued high plains and West; the East and South will be warmer than normal as well. The only region of the country forecast to have below normal summer time temps is the Great Lakes. Storm Specialist Dr. Greg Postel said that while summer 2013 won’t be as hot as 2012, it will still exacerbate drought conditions in the West.

Neither Postel or Meteorologist Maria LaRosa mention the negative effect that a long, hotter than normal summer will have on fire conditions in the West.